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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another

3/24/2004

Next up: Civil War

While Yassin is being promoted as a religious leader and all round spiritual guy, in fact he was the controlling mind which has driven Hamas to the dominant position in Gaza. The Troll of Ramallah's (TM) writ does not run in the Gaza Strip and the spiritual leader effectively ran what little government there was in the area. Steve denBeste suggests:
There are Palestinians who want the war to end; there are some who are willing to accept a "two state" solution and to abandon the ambition of pushing Israel into the sea. But none of those who lead militant groups are yet thinking in those terms.

The reason we know that is that they have as yet refused to abandon their demand for the "right of return". We will know that the Palestinians have become sincere in wishing to seek a negotiated peace once they give up that demand. Until they do, all negotiations are hudna, insincere gestures intended to maintain initiative and to prevent the Israelis from forcing the pace of the war.
uss clueless
Hamas has a new leader whose first pronouncement was that he would never negotiate with Israel. (Tim Blair suggests sending messages of congratulation quickly.)

den Beste's main point is that the elimination of Yassim may be the catalyst for the Palestinian civil war which I have suggested is required for there to be much of a chance of peace.
If the leaders of various important Palestinian factions are new and relatively unknown, and their grip on power is weak, then not only will different groups contend with one another, but factions within those groups will also contend. And they will contend with guns and bombs, not with words and negotiations.

Once the Palestinians sink into the morass of civil war, inflicting far more casualties on each other than the Israelis ever did, the fiction of the "peace process" will be broken forever, exposed as the manipulative lie it always was. The international focus will cease to be on peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and instead on somehow pacifying the Palestinians themselves. And thus the fiction that the conflict can somehow be settled and Palestinian violence ended if only Israel can be pressured to make enough concessions will also be exposed as a lie.
What is evident at the moment, and has been since the Palestinians refused to implement either the Oslo accords or the roadmap, is that the present Palestinian leadership, for whatever reason, is incapable of actually agreeing to peace. Which means that there is no one to do a deal with.

The failure of the Palestinians to produce leaders who can make peace lies at the heart of the failure of the various peace efforts in the area. The Troll of Ramallah (TM) ceased to matter a year ago when he could not even lend his support to his hand picked Prime Minister. Hamas is an active opponent of peace.

Tragically, there will have to be a civil war so that the gunmen in Palestine are weakened if not destroyed. The Israelis cannot do this - the numbers involved are simply too large for the IDF to contemplate. But Israel can follow its course of disengagement and separation. How long that will have to last is impossible to tell. Likely a few years but it might be several decades before the Palestinians will tire of internal slaughter.

For Israel a Palestinian civil war, behind a large wall, is not an ideal solution; but it is a solution which will prevent the civil war from spilling over into Israel.

With luck, the Palestinians will eventually realize they are getting nowhere with the hardline no-negotiation routine, no where with the say one thing and do another scam, and will realize it is time to actually talk to Israel. By then most of the old guard Palestinian leaders will have been killed - either by Israel or by the fearsome faction fights which will take place behind the wall. With the gunmen dead it is just possible that a moderate Palestinian voice might emerge and not be shot by the hardliners. That voice is one which Israel and the rest of the world is longing to hear.